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2020 Sparks Exit Interviews: Seimone Augustus

The veteran scorer was still money with the Sparks, even if in a limited role.

Los Angeles Sparks v Atlanta Dream Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Name: Seimone Augustus

Age: 36

Contract status: Augustus made $140,000 on a one-year deal this season. She is a free agent for 2020, per The Next’s salary database.

Stats: Augustus played in 20 of 22 regular-season games, averaging 5.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per contest off the bench while shooting 49.0% from the field.

In L.A.’s lone playoff game, August played 22 minutes and scored 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting. She also made 4-of-4 free throws, equivalent to her total makes for the full regular season.

Preseason expectations: The Sparks signing Augustus was the biggest shock of the offseason after the future Hall of Famer spent her first 14 seasons with rival Minnesota, winning four titles and collecting eight All-Star nods in the process. It was unclear how much Augustus had left in the tank after playing only 12 (of 34) games in 2019 for a total of 156 minutes in 2019, but it was a low-risk move for L.A. to fill a hole on the wing with one of the best pull-up shooters in league history.

Seattle Storm v Los Angeles Sparks
It was strange to see Augustus in a Sparks jersey, but exceedingly normal to see her rain jumpers no matter the uniform.
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

What went well: The season got off to a blazing start for Augustus, as she nailed all six of her shots, including two threes, in an opening day rout over the Mercury. She continued to shoot well all season, though obviously not at that pace. Augustus made 54.5% of her 3-pointers and a blistering 46.5% of 2-point jumpers outside the paint.

The Sparks managed Augustus’ minutes by playing her off the bench, which gave her a lot of time next to the team’s younger players, but she was also an effective complement to the star trio of Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, and Chelsea Gray. Augustus was great at moving the ball and finding those players in their preferred spots, and she was also excellent at moving without the ball to be an outlet for L.A.’s bevy of playmakers.

Augustus has generally been a shooting guard for the majority of her career with the size to play wing, and the Sparks took advantage of her positional flexibility to play her at the two, three, and four. That enabled the team to be more active on defense with her on the floor and even switch against high-powered offenses.

The Sparks were 6.9 points per 100 possessions better with Augustus on the floor per Pivot Analysis, the second-best on-off differential among rotation players.

What needs to improve: Augustus was a little inconsistent as a scorer. She had seven games out of 21 when she made one or fewer field goals, which made her a somewhat unreliable source of bench offense. She also isn’t a great rebounder, which is fine when she’s playing on the wing, but was harder to account for when the Sparks played her at the four in small lineups. L.A. had an offensive rebounding rate of 13.7% with Augustus and only one big on the court while surrendering an opponent offensive rebounding rate of 27.6%.

Future with the Sparks: L.A. has $790,900 of available salary to re-sign Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, and Gray this offseason, who will all be eligible for max deals in the range of $200,000 annually. They also potentially have to agree to new contracts with Te’a Cooper, Chiney Ogwumike, and Brittney Sykes. That doesn’t leave much room for Augustus, unless they cut some non-guaranteed players (Tierra Ruffin-Pratt comes to mind).

The Sparks brought in Augustus this year, getting rid of rising star Marina Mabrey in the process, because they were trying to win now. That will still be the case in 2021. Augustus previously said that 2020 would be her last season, but that was when she assumed she’d be retiring with the Lynx. Augustus was always a positive presence on the court and off of it. If she has another season in her, it should be with the Sparks.